Why Latin Excursions and How We Work
What makes us different?
We are an upscale boutique travel service provider specialized in providing discerning individuals with exceptional travel experiences to the finest and, many times, rarest areas of South America. We create trips with insider access to special events, collections and travel experiences, combined with a very personalized customer service and attention to detail.
Our extensive on-the-ground network means we know what is happening in the region.
Latin Excursions’ talented team is comprised of specialty travel professionals who love the countries we specialize in and some of us have lived extensively in these areas as well. Our goal is to provide our clients with experiences that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Our excellence is reflected in the Awards we’ve received. We have been recognized in the media.
Since 2005, Travel + Leisure magazine also named our founder, Eric, in its highly selective “A-List of Top Travel Agents.”
What type of accommodations do you find?
We work with a collection of hotels that not only offer a comfortable bed and warm bath, but share our ethics in sustainable and quality travel.
Our collection of hotels are situated in some of the most pristine and remote regions of the Latin continent and who we have found are passionately committed to nature and cultural conservation. Our hotelier partners are able to offer clients a genuine experience of immersion in local, authentic environment.
What type of trips do you offer?
We offer private trips or travel for couples, families, honeymoons, board of director meetings, family reunions, educational, and other special interest type of travel.
Why private travel?
Private travel is traveling on your own with your own guide and vehicle or transportation, arranged at the comfort of your own schedule and interests. Much of today’s type of travel are “repackaged trips” or cookie cutter in essence and style. We believe that the spontaneity allowed by private travel maximizes your experience since you are on your own clock and not one driven by a large group. You can start and stop at your liking. You can stop and view the penguins and not be pressured to follow others.
What type of guides and why a guide?
Your guide can make or break a trip to South America. It sounds dramatic, but think about it. You come to South America to explore the rich history, the fascinating landscape and the colorful culture, but you will only scrape the surface unless you have an insightful, highly-knowledgeable, dependable, fluent English-speaking gatekeeper to show you the way. Equally, if you go trekking, you will be lost (literally) without a highly-competent, reliable, knowledgeable guide on your side. To take it to the other extreme, it is not even worth visiting the Amazon if you are not accompanied by the very best naturalist guides. We think excellent guiding the backbone to your vacation, that’s why we profile our guides to ensure that you have a guide who suits your personal tastes and requirements.
And we go a step further. We have connections with leading specialists from the fields of archaeology and history, the arts, architecture, and cuisine who can take you on special visits or give you private lectures or discussions on many different topics.
Our Guide Selection Procedure
All of our guides are fluent English speakers and educated to degree-level in anthropology, music, or education and the like. In fact, they are often working archaeologists or teachers who thoroughly enjoy sharing their detailed knowledge with our discerning clientele. As well as being passionate about their subjects and excellent communicators, they must be qualified in first aid, be respectful, responsible and dependable. As an aside, we also have a habit of selecting guides who are nice people with a good sense of humor.
What territories can you cover for me?
We are specialists throughout South America, with a strong focus mainly in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Galapagos (& Ecuador), Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Antarctica. We offer tailor made journeys in Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala on a per request basis. We also work with a network of specialists.
What makes you different from other suppliers in South America?
We have invested many years choosing our local partners that share our vision and philosophy. Many of our local people are NOT traditional tour guides, but specialists in their respective fields. For art tours, we usually have an local university art professor accompany you through the museums. For those interested in design, you will have private showings of a local designers shop. These are just examples to the degree we go to offer you a memorable travel experience. We have a listing of our classic trips to assist you in seeing what type of travel itinerary you might be looking for and then can customize an itinerary around your liking. We like to say we create individualized travel productions – each production individually tailored. Be it a private dinner request in Machu Picchu or a corporate board retreat in the middle of a stunning vineyard in Mendoza, each experience will be a memorable one.
Do you charge for your itineraries?
Yes. First we will provide you with a summarized outline of our suggestions to your destination. Then we will charge a $250 per passenger dollar fee that is reimbursed against the final trip price in case of purchasing the trip. We call this a planning fee
The planning fee is used to secure cruise cabins, tour spaces, limited entrance tickets (for example, to Machu Picchu), top guides, and other spaces while we finalize rest of services. That way, we can continue to finetune the rest of your itinerary details without worrying about losing availability on the trip portions you already prefer.
In exchange for this fee, we will supply you with a complete descriptive itinerary and presentation with many visualizations and photos of the areas of visit. We will also work closely with you to attend to every one of your likes and dislikes. You will not be disappointed with your customized itinerary!
What type of setup do you have in place?
Our corporate offices are located in Miami, Florida. With a small full-time staff, we are a compact but resourceful team enough to guarantee a sustained service 24/7.
In each key destination we have our licensed associates and local in country partners, who deliver unique customer experiences in compliance with our philosophy and standards.
What would the typical work flow be with you?
Our process with you should be the following:
We will need to know as much as possible about you and your family. What are your interests, what are your expectations for this trip, where have you traveled in the last year, accommodation preferences (large or boutique), and other questions you should expect to be asked. For this reason we will ask you to return to us a travel familiarization sheet we like to send to begin the process. Please send us all information you consider will help us in further understanding the specific characteristics of our upcoming guest.
We like to hold a conference call to get to know and personalize with each of customer. We will review aspects of the trip. In our case it is fundamental to get a feeling of the customer, and from our experience we can tell that customers love the chance of meeting those who will be assisting them when they arrive to this often exotic destination.
Once we have figured out your profile and interests, we will propose an outline itinerary with the main points of a suggested trip. In the same trip concept document, we will inform you the expiration dates for these reservations and spaces. Spaces can be secured in the meantime with the confirmation of our Planning Fee or partial deposit.
Upon approval of the basic outline of the trip and receipt of a planning fee, we will proceed to write up the full blown itinerary that shall include:
- Timetable of activities
- Detailed description of services provided
- Pictures of locations
- Relevant information
- Description of hotel arrangements
At this time we will assume that the trip has been purchased and will request the first installment to be paid as per our terms and conditions expressed within the itinerary. Otherwise, payment can be made through a wire transfer to our bank account in Florida or by sending a check by courier to our office.
Are your services very expensive?
Actually we are not. Although we use only the best accommodations – be it a five-star hotel or a small boutique hotel – our costs are very valuable considering the type of VIP services and that will tend to grow costs, but in terms of mark-up and service fees you will find our costs surprisingly competitive.
To give you an idea, a typical five-star itinerary in Brazil or Argentina will sell per day for an average of US$400 per person (based on double accommodation). And this will include the very best hotels on each location, hosting services, at least one guided activity per day, a majority of all meals, full transfers, and more.
Do your prices include airfares?
We do add airfare to your trip upon request. Once we have determined your individual needs, our expert planners will pick the best flight and options tailor made for you. Ultimately, it is our knowledge of the flights and the carriers that allow us to make each client individually happy.
Our customers remember us for those small and subtle details that moved their souls during the trip. That private dinner in the middle of the vineyard, or that special lunch at the highly respected restaurant. Since we have taken a lot of time and effort to understand you, we will be able to offer you surprises along the trip. We use a local host who coordinates all the guides involved in an itinerary. He/she will be responsible with making those necessary changes along the way. We like to allow the sufficient amount of flexibility to allow you and your family to make any special requests and changes to the proposed itinerary.
This is how we define travel service.